UN expert urges Iran to halt executions of 12 individuals for drug-related offences

26 August 2016

The United Nations rights expert on the situation of human rights in Iran has called on the Government to immediately halt the execution of 12 individuals, all of whom have been reportedly sentenced to death for drug-related offences.

The executions are reportedly scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, 27 August, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a news release today.

“It is regrettable that the Government continues to proceed with executions for crimes that do not meet the threshold of the ‘most serious crimes’ as required by international law, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is State party,” Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, said in the news release.

According to OHCHR, one of the sentenced, Alireza Madadpour was arrested in November 2011 after 990 grams of crystal meth were found during a raid on a house he cleaned. He was tried by the Revolutionary Court located in Karaj city, near the country’s capital Tehran.

The UN human rights office added that Mr. Madadpour’s state-appointed defence lawyer never met him and the trial lasted only 20 minutes. Furthermore, Mr. Madadpour’s request for pardon and retrial were not granted.

“It is also troubling that courts continue to issue death sentences in trials that not only breach international fair trial standards but even domestic due process guarantees,” stressed Mr. Shaheed.

The news release also said that Mr. Madadpour and the 11 other individuals were transferred to solitary confinement in Karaj Central Prison on 24 August in preparation for the execution.

Executions for drug-related crimes not a deterrence

Noting serious concern regarding the Iranian authorities' continuing reliance on drug-related executions as means to deter crimes, the UN rights expert stressed that various Government officials have gone on record to acknowledge that executions have not been effective in the prevention of drug-related crimes.According to the release, the Special Rapporteur also renewed his call on Iran to immediately institute a moratorium on executions and to restrict use of the death penalty for the “most serious crimes.”

He also repeated his calls on the Iranian authorities to adhere to international standards guaranteeing fair trial and due process for those facing the death penalty.

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.


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